Five days ago I heard someone refer to a Christmas cracker as a bonbon, and a wave of nostalgia hit me.  That’s what my mother called them in the distant past in England.  I remember being surprised to learn that ‘bonbon’ was French for a sweet – as in confectionery.  I suppose the original crackers contained sweets, instead of the toys and jokes we now expect.

And that brings me to the point of this post.  I have the impression that the toys are getting much better.  If I am right, is this a sign that Chinese manufacturing standards in general are improving rapidly?

It calls to mind the transition that Japan made in the 1960s and 70s, from being a maker of cheap crap to having a reputation for quality on a par with Germany’s.  If China is on a similar trajectory, the rest of us will have to lift our game if we want anything to bear a stamp other than ‘Made in China’.

On the other hand, I think the jokes are getting worse.  Does anyone out there agree with me?


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